It's the final day! I've really enjoyed taking part, even if I have ended up putting everything else on hold.
To answer today's topic, I'm going to start with two stories and end with some exposition, but my answer is the one that seems most common (and I think for good reason).
Story the first.
Once upon a time, there was a Games Workshop store with two female regulars. The elder was at that age where she was starting to try to think of herself as an adult and the younger suffered the social ineptness of a stereotypical nerd. They didn't really know each other, the elder being a fan of Battlefleet Gothic and Warhammer Fantasy, whilst the younger only played Lord of the Rings.
The store was proud to have two female members, and nagged both into attending a tournament organised for all stores in the region. The tournament was to be held at the Games Workshop HQ, which meant a long coach journey that would be shared with the regulars of the nearest store.
Although the elder girl had many friends at the store, they'd all managed to get out of attending the tournament so she was stuck on a coach full of people she didn't know, and the younger girl's mother, aware of her daughter's social awkwardness, had tasked the elder girl with looking after her even though they didn't know each other. Sigh.
So it was that the two sat next to each other with little in common. Bored, the elder girl turned her ear to the people behind her - regulars from the other store. The staff at her store had brought her into the roleplaying circle 2 years earlier (something she remains grateful for), so she immediately recognised what was happening behind her - even if it was D&D which she'd never played and had been warned off because it was "too overpowered". She twisted in her seat and was blown away by the sexiness of the GM.
So she asked that she and the younger girl be allowed to join the game, and was happy to help the younger girl (who'd never roleplayed before and was worried her mum might not approve) settle into the game - an epic quest to find the blend of secret herbs and spices that made Kobold Fried Chicken just so tasty.
And the elder girl and the GM lived happily ever after.
Story the second.
Opening shot: a large room filled with stalls of many kinds. Crowds of people push between them. The banners on the walls and stalls should reveal this as a university Fresher's Fayre.
Camera zooms in to one young woman who has just entered. We see a brief look of consternation flash across her face before she corrects her posture. This is somebody who has never had many friends but knows she can change that here: she just has to find 'her people'.
Camera pans to show a short woman in a fur-trimmed medieval style dress. The woman has thick, dark hair that falls in curls to her waist, a tanned complexion darkened further by the cream dress, and a smile as beautiful as she is. With her are several other people - mainly women - painted in various shades of body paint and wearing a mix of fantasy outfits and carrying latex weaponry. Although our protagonist has never LARP'd, when she sees this group she knows she's come home.
She beelines to them with a confidence born of relief and trickery, does her best to make a good impression in her endeavour to be taken into their protection - and it works.
As well as WARPSoc ('Wargames and Role Play Society'), she signs up for RocSoc and PunkSock, and recognises many of the people she'd seen in costume at the RocSoc 'Fresh Meat' Fresher's Ball so circles near them for security - and they look after her. Dancing too near one tall guy, she gets a face full of spikes from his wrist. He immediately hurries her from the dance floor to buy her a drink. No damage done except minor bruising that fades quickly, and she has a new friend who will for the next 3 years look after her in the moshpit and who shares her enthusiasm for living in dreams. On the walk back, a young woman walking ahead up a hill drops her large boots and they land on our protagonist, who, drunk on the pleasure of having new friends, laughs. Two years later, the other woman will recount the tale of how she dropped her boots on a fresher, and our fresher will burst out laughing, delighted to discover she's friends with the woman who was so apologetic and made her feel so welcome to the town that night. Particularly amused, as this woman is the housemate of the guy with spiked bracelets.
Our protagonist leaves university three years and many adventures later, a more confident woman than when she joined. She may not be happier yet, but she has learnt the lessons that will eventually get her there, and she has better friends than ever before in her life, and more friends than ever before.
So my favourite non-RPG things to come from RPG'ing are my friends and my partner. Finishing as I started, this post is actually being written today instead of in advance like all others besides Day 1, and I can see that friends and partners are far and away the biggest response to this. I think it's because the friendships you make when roleplaying are deep-seated. You go through a lot together: it might be in fiction, but it's still an emotional journey. Not only that, but you find the ways you are like-minded, which builds a deeper connection.
There are other wonderful things I've attained that roleplay has helped with - confidence, lateral thinking and problem solving, writing - but all of those come back to the friends who helped me develop such skills.
Roleplay always comes back to the people.